|General Charles Augustus Doyen (1859-1918)|
As officially reported in 1919: "The first distinguished-service medal to be awarded by the Navy Department was to-day posthumously conferred upon Brig. Gen. Charles A. Doyen, of the United States Marine Corps, the man credited with having "built" the Fourth Brigade of Marines, which acquitted itself so valorously in the Chateau-Thierry sector." General Doyen commanded the Fourth Brigade, 2nd Division in France until he was struck by influenza during the Pandemic of 1918 and died October 6, 1918 at Quantico.
Mark Dutton has done an enormous amount of research on General Doyen's military career and the history of the Navy DSM (Distinguished Service Medal). Much of Dutton's work is posted at Ancestry.com for anyone to consult. He contacted me to see if our family might still have General Doyen's medal, since the initial design was later changed and there are no known examples of this first version. I was sorry to tell him that I didn't know where the medal might be, but perhaps some other relative can answer this for him.
Here is Mark Dutton's image of what the first Navy DSM medal probably looked like:
As a social historian, I am able to add a few new photographs of General Doyen, and more information about his daughter, Ruth Alice Doyen Austin (1894-1954). I will be adding to this section over the next week.
Charles Augustus Doyen was born in New Hampshire in 1859 and attended the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland in the Class of 1881. In 1892, Doyen married Claude Fay (1871-1943). Miss Fay's father was William Wirt Fay, a Professor at the Naval Academy for 36 years, and her mother was Julia Griswold Phillips from Newport, Rhode Island. (Another one of their daughters, Mary Fay, married USMC Major General Joseph Henry Pendleton - for whom Camp Pendleton is named.)
The Doyen's had two daughters. My father's mother is Ruth Alice Doyen Austin (1894-1954) and then later Mrs. Doyen gave birth to my Great Aunt Fay Doyen Johnson (1901-1984), whom I visited growing up, at their home known as Jubilee, in Leonardtown, Maryland on the Potomac.
My Grandmother Austin was born in Brooklyn, NY on May 19, 1984 and is referred to twice in records as an adopted daughter. Ruth Alice is not listed in the 1900 census with Claude Fay, who is designated as having no children. My first records of my grandmother are from family photos saved by her children and labeled: Mama at 5, and Mama at 6. These two photos are reproduced below and show the distinctive family feature of very very pale blue eyes. The second photo, from 1900, is from a studio in NY, suggesting she might still have been living in NY until the age of 6?
|Ruth Alice Doyen, c. 1899-1900, age 5 here and age 6 below|
In the 1910 census, 15 year-old Ruth Alice Doyen is listed as an adopted daughter, born in New York, of a NY mother and a German father. I have no more information about this.
Three years later, Ruth marries my Grandfather Austin at a huge wedding in Bremerton, Washington.
My father, Jason McVay Austin, Jr. is born in 1915 while the family is stationed in the Philipines.
|Here, my dad is described by his proud father:|
"He is a whale. Has blue eyes, dark hair. Eyes are so blue they look artificial."
|My father, Jason McVay Austin, in 1917 with his mother, Ruth Alice Doyen Austin.|
On the steps of her father's house n the Bremerton Washington Navy Yard.
Note the sign on the column: "Colonel Doyen".
The family grew to include four children by 1920: Jason McVay (b. 1915), Claude Fay (b. 1917), Ruth Raymonde (b. 1919), and Alice Doyen (b. 1920). Four more children were born between 1921-1927.